Rhead, George Woolliscroft (1855-1920) by Scholes, Robert

George Woolliscroft Rhead (1855 – 1920) He came from an interesting family. The Rheads of North Staffordshire have been connected with the pottery industry since the eighteenth century, and possibly earlier. However George Woolliscroft Rhead senior (born 1832) was the first to exhibit a special gift for pottery design. Four of George’s eleven children entered the pottery industry – George Woolliscroft junior (1854-1920), Frederick Alfred (1856-1933), Louis John (1858-1926), and Fanny Woolliscroft (1865-1931). The three boys began as apprentices at Mintons, but thereafter their careers diverged. George worked in London as an artist and teacher, Louis worked in the USA as an illustrator and only Frederick Alfred followed a traditional path as a potter and designer in the Stoke-on-Trent Potteries. George was a talented pottery painter, etcher, illustrator and art teacher. He served his apprenticeship at Minton’s acquiring the skills of pottery painting under W. S. Coleman . In 1871 Minton Art Pottery Studio was set up in Kensington Gore, London under the directorship of Coleman. George went to join him there as pottery painter. The studio was destroyed by fire in 1875. In 1877 George won a scholarship to the South Kensington School of Art where he was awarded a Certificate in Art Teaching in 1880. He spent time travelling Europe before settling permanently in London. In 1898 he was co-illustrator of with his brother Louis. He also wrote several books on subjects such as etching, pottery, costume and the history of the fan. Perhaps he is best known as the designer of Queen Mary’s coronation fan in 1911. Idylls of the King George was married twice, Firstly to Louise in 1894 and in 1914 to the artist Annie French. The images below are from Rhead’s illustrations of : Idylls of the King

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